tv Abraham Lincoln and Photography CSPAN April 3, 2016 8:00pm-9:31pm EDT
>> good evening. my name is brian lebeau. you to like to welcome the 18th annual university of st. mary lincoln event. featuring smithsonian national portrait gallery senior historian david seymour. how abraham lincoln used photography for politics. a special welcome to the crew from c-span. when we open the floor to questions, be sure to use the microphones.
our speaker tonight david ward joined to the national portrait gallery in 1981. he oversees the sections devoted to the antebellum age as well as the gallery and the ongoing exhibit 20th century americans. david was co-curator of an award-winning exhibition hide and seek difference and desires in american portraiture. he is re-hanging the hall of presidents. the american origin's space. as well as curating a new exhibit on the photographer barrio testee no. testino.
david has another civil war exhibit on display now. alexander gardner photographs. it includes several lincoln photographs. i saw it last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. this exhibit was preceded by the portrait gallery exhibit on grant and lee, the mask of lincoln, walt whitman. this multitalented man is a poet and an editor and a literary critic. a selection of his poetry was published in 2011 called internal difference and a full collection call waiting was also published. please welcome david ward.
the other reason i accepted his invitation is that whenever i've come here i've had a great time. i didn't realize i was going to be in leavenworth. you are taking your chances tonight. happy presidents' day. and to get together celebrate the career of franklin pierce and william henry harrison and john tyler. i understand the point of a three-day weekend. there is a kind of a participatory metal now for the presidents. they all get lumped together. some of this is a justifiable suspicion of the great man theory of history.
that we had in the 19th century with thomas carlyle. popular biographies glorified lincoln and washington and teddy roosevelt. now are more sensitive to democratic politics. and the panoply of social history. i am not a dave otay of the great man theory of history. i don't think individuals, with rare exceptions such as lincoln, determine everything in history. it doesn't really work for history which is much more multifaceted. i do think that we lose something as a nation are not celebrating people who were great. not all the presidents have and not all presidents well. people like lincoln and washington and roosevelt have
done so. we should pay some attention to that. it was short, i did my best. [laughter] the other thing is part of the interpretive theory as i'm , historians are you changing things as they need to come up with new ideas to keep their jobs. the frederick jackson turner frontier thesis is largely discredited. again witht about it you can bring in the idea of america crossing the prairies does change the american character. that i am one fact
campus. carl sandburg's first biography of lincoln begins with the prairie years. the long travel between kentucky and the speech in leavenworth because in washington you are surrounded by monumental lincoln. the lincoln memorial down at the end of the mall. lincoln was always an accessible figure. fascinated as most people are with his face. edifice with a huge building of white marble. you can't do this anymore. e pluribus unum. after muscle in eu can use this as a skull friday many more.
the monumental lincoln including this portrait that is the signature portrait in our gallery. of course we have all of the presidents. along with the white house where the only place that has portraits of all the presidents. they made the mistake of putting me in charge of rehanging the president. i don't like this portrait and i would like it to replace it with something. this is typical 19th-century american portrait. it hides as much as it reveals. his face is been airbrushed. it is posthumous. lincoln being of ocular and thoughtful and all the rest of it. the mystery of abraham lincoln.
an extraordinary career. this western movement from kentucky to springfield, the family spends one entire winter in a lean to open ended with a fire burning. the milk sickness takes his mother. we see lincoln is the president and we read back into these beginnings which are ultimately mysterious. i called my exhibition the mask .f lincoln talking to you in a professorial way. lincoln had that element of the public element like most politicians do. but there was something mysterious where the mask blocks
the accessibility of getting to lincoln. it becomes more and more difficult. i think of henry fonda as the young mr. lincoln. you see then he has become part of the natural landscape. lying on his back with his feet in the tree and he is reading. this drove thomas lincoln mad. abraham lincoln would read a book while plowing. he would get to the end of the horse around. his father would come out and get angry at him. i am not a freudian. the idea of parental disapproval in terms of setting lincoln off, this dreamy young man. dreaming of what? he's out the middle of nowhere.
on a small farm. he has no mentor. no guidance. no college. there was no safety net. if you didn't succeed you would die. you disappeared. there was no record of your passing. lincoln himself in his famous autobiographical sketch cuts off the discussion of his youth where he refuses to talk about it. he does this repeatedly. he says his early life was just the short and simple annals of the poor. any real inquiry from the chicago newspaper about what he was like. lincoln's father thomas was on his deathbed. young mr. lincoln's moved on. he is 80 miles away and he refuses to come to the deathbed. he doesn't go to the funeral.
relations with the man that he has grown to lowe's. loathe. the sweat of their face for my show on american workers. ideology of free labor. the beginning of lincoln's evolution to an advocate of free labor. to anti-slavery abolitionism. lincoln's coming-of-age at just a moment where photography is coming in. the hierarchical element of oil painting is disappearing. lincoln is not the first visual president.
other presidents like george washington and andrew jackson or even the lesser-known ones. would have an oil painting done because that was customary. descended from the kings and queens of england. hographs ofbe little varying quality. there was this thirst to find imagery. which photography satisfied. you have lincoln for the first his first four griffin 18 46. becoming a visual. he has worked up to be a lawyer. establishing himself.
gone through this process of auto didactic self teaching. all the cliches are true. he does walk five miles to return a book. he just learned to cipher by using wooden logs. the legend only answer to the mystery of the beginning of this modern country. like it is coming out of the -- lincoln is coming out of .he west starting in 1846, he starts to get for graft. photographed. he is a classic figure of the jackson democratic party. whig,et he becomes a
which is seen as the party of privilege. it was not a class conflict between the haves and the have-nots. there is demographically a difference. does, you seeln the plaster casts of his hands because i want to emphasize his origins. a working-class individual. he was a rail splitter. he did some farming unwillingly for his farmer. and then on the river scuffling for jobs. there was no real pattern you can follow. outside of the priesthood of the ministry. lincolnhhewn nature of that became part of his
political career. he was intensely human. the attribute of his physical strength. one of those whipsaw guys who was famous for his wrestling ability. parallelhold a sledge to the ground and he can hold it there longer than anyone else. a test of masculinity. he jokes about his service in the black hawk war. he is elected captain. his military career is not a success. there is an element of that early charisma that is embodied literally in his physique and the way that he appeared. the way his body is betrayed and photographs. and these casts of his hands.
posthumously in the oil painting. ae thing that makes lincoln symbol of quake progress is that he is the only president to receive a patent. the portrait gallery exists in the original patent office building. it was built in the 1830's under jackson. building, i will show you around. a symbol of american progress. the takeoff of the american economy. the combined to drive of the jacksonians democracy and the extension of the franchise to working people and small plan ofand the quake henry clay. he was a man on the make. he becomes a corporation lawyer.
he works for the railroads. the patents that he gets his particular interesting. it worked.nk this is the model that we have in the collection. the mississippi river was famous for its sandbars. lincoln invented in this combined borage was a way of walking the boat over sandbars. these posts and lift the boat up. they must've been like lincoln very strong. and shuffle the boat over the sandbars. it is metaphorical that the
openness of lincoln. the river should be open. opportunities should exist. a rising tide would lift all boats. this fascinating mechanism would man to be that rising tide, to carry it down the river. grant wins the battle at the siege of vicksburg. him, therites to father of waters runs again on the next to see. i wonder if he thought about his boat, his patent. the point of america was to have this element of opportunity and openness and to the river should run free. i go back to the landscape. the notion that the south couldn't be allowed to leave the union p.
. because it was part of the sacred ground of the union. lincoln's so-called homeliness. he was famously ugly. i've spent a lot of time with lincoln and perhaps it is the stockholm syndrome. he seems more and more attractive to me. by is itsi was struck house old romantic hair. almost ironic. very 1840's and 50's. the sense of style. that hoodeded was eyes. his sense of inward this. lincoln is kind of saturnine and inward looking. your get people smiling a 19th-century photographs because they had to hold still. lincoln is picturing himself. he is still a bad dresser.
he has this incredible time. they are of course black and white photographs. black with a white shirt. the inwardness of the eyes. river.y reading by the maskingtician who was his intentions behind jokes and witticisms. an understanding of who he was however he came to that understanding. he would not reveal himself. jokes toous for using distract people. the leaders of the republican party, they think he is above phone. lincoln is using jokes and
country folk tales first of all in national democratic politics. william seward might not like those jokes. but the people like them. it was a way of connecting with the public. the homeliness become something that lincoln was more than happy to use to his advantage. opinions differ. he did not have the smoothness of the eastern politicians. a famous occasion in the lincoln douglas debates where lincoln says my opponent accused me of being two-faced. if i had another phase, when i wear this one?
that element where he is using it again and the humility that is not completely forced. completely fictional. lincoln knew who he was. he knew what he looked like. the smoothness and urbanity that he can use to his advantage where he is this frontiersman coming east. whitman and lincoln share this .urious connection whitman comes to idolize lincoln. they never met. this amazing quote by whitman in one of his political tracts called the 18th president. he misses lincoln by two. he welcomes a redeemer president. who would come out of the real west clearing the woods and the prairie on the hillsides.
shrewd fully formed beard faced american blacksmith. and across the alleghenies walk into the presidency. i go back to the sense of the west as the cradle of a democracy. he responded to lincoln's democracy but also with the sense that the union is bound up in the bodies of the individual american citizens. they would be exemplified by the bonds that existed between each of us. on, thelincoln early photographic process. jumping little bit chronologically here. photography is just getting started. we don't have a complete record as you would today.
you had this episodic process. some of the prince don't survive. again is developing an advertisement for himself. he is a one term congressman. he goes back home. it, i must admit that the taste is in my mouth. his ambition is there. saysecretary john nikolay the little engine of his ambition knew no rest. knew him bestt song this burning ambition that he had. to escape his nonexistence and
his non-personhood as the son of this ne'er-do-well father. getting his photograph taken as evidence of his existence. this is a wonderful photograph. a series of prints were done by the springfield mafia they were running lincoln's career. showing him as a charismatic figure who is working his way party. the whig in those days the congressional delegation elected senators. lincoln douglas debate was kind of a spurious show of democracy because the people couldn't directly vote on the senators. but lincoln is beginning to stake a claim and make his name.
speed startjoshua to bring in photographers. which with a society in people didn't know what other people looks like. retailer wins the nomination for president and feeds henry clay. snubbed president-elect because he didn't know what he looks like. clay was effusive in his apology. size of the country in the distance between people. the lack of imagery. as photography is coming on not until the 20th century. google we can go look at ourselves. that was not the case in the 1850's.
photography is a way that you can have images made and most ,oignantly ordinary americans it wasn't cheap but it wasn't expensive either. servicephy begins its for everything from high school yearbooks to hig wedding photos. lincoln went along with walt whitman. the two people who begin to realize that photography is a way of transmitting one's personality. whitman enjoys getting his photograph taken almost as much as lincoln. you didn't have to strike the same pose. longfellow only had one pose.
you see longfellow is the young poet and it is the same as when he is aged in gray. whitman is constantly experimenting with how he looks. wearing a hat, holding a butterfly. different shirts. he is constantly adapting his stance. lincoln will use it in a different way as he examines the circumstances and ms. into the white house. -- what he is leaving behind this is the life mask of 1861. this is the older technology obtain anorder to absolutely accurate depiction of somebody, you would have a life
mask taken. either an entrepreneur or a sculptor would come to you or you go to their studio and they big thing ofput a plastering your head. parenthetically, thomas retired when a man came to monticello and was chatting with jefferson and lost track of the time. jefferson nearly suffocated. he was too polite to get up and rip the plaster off. healthon was not in good and they were going to sue brower.
technology asder opposed to get into this. i'm going back to another photograph. this is one that the springfield guys to together. this is alexander hustler. and you see the development of lines. it is well to remember how young lincoln was. he is 56 when he dies. again, he is growing into manhood before our very eyes and he is affected by the tremendous circumstances of wanting a career that will move him into the law and politics and then into office. and this is the photograph that did it for him.
you have a difficult time doing this with powerpoint. i probably should have managed -- mention this earlier. this is a very small photograph . card a cardde -- it is a de visit. a were the most common in the cheapest, as opposed to the big imperial place. they arener show, glass plate negatives. technology is evolving in the have not invented film. chemical andss of visual simulation, you had a glass plate to take the negative and then you take the print from it. if you wanted a little picture, you had a little plate.
i was doing this for high school and they did not even know what film was. because anything is digital. portrait thatmous lincoln says -- this is the photograph that mr. brady took that made me president. the republican party rises. the freeoing back to soil free labor of his youth, that you should be rewarded for the work that you do, gravitates from the destroying of the whig .arty, which is collapsing he accepts in 1859 an invitation by henry ward beecher to come to
beecher's big church in brooklyn whatevera speech about he wanted, but the session -- but the secession crisis is growing. to knowy really wanted what lincoln looked like. they wanted to hear him. so lincoln ghost of brooks brothers, buys this suit. the suit is getting better. and he goes to matthew brady studio on madison avenue and has his portrait taken. he then goes to the cooper union and delivers us incredible -- constitutional scholars can understand his speech. ordinary mortals do not unless in legalse yourself culture. this is a well wrought speech about why it is unconstitutional for the cell to secede. so job done, lincoln convinces .verybody
they might not vote for them, but they have to taken seriously as a candidate. of theportantly, because popular politics of all of this, brady takes his photograph, is a david davis -- this society that is intense -- they hadn't invented professional sports yet. .here is religion and politics they were the two organizing devices that galvanize local communities in a credible ways ,hat we can't understand now from participation rates in voting and participation rates in church going to participation rates in political activity. they republican party in particular is rising, this whole a sing of the whigs in the democrats led by lincoln creates modern campaigning. coalition of the weeks
and the democrats led by lincoln creates modern campaigning. quite invented photoshop, be considered on the fries and -- on the horizon. intern to cute little ovals and put them inside paintedally nice wooden ovals and created a political pin. if you demonstrate your allegiance in a way that did not require the old fuddy-duddy way of more or less accurate illustration. there was the man. there was lincoln himself.
it's an incredible little thing . this is the beginning of the modern media campaign with lincoln and the republican party adapting to all this. i'm throwing this and again because the older world of the -- inture in an ace paper the newspaper, you could not buy a paper with a photograph and it. i just like this. this is lincoln. he has gotten elected. and the sorts an assassination plot on the way to the capital. they send lincoln early in the morning instead of later in the day. he was ridiculed for this, but he was empowered. you'll notice the really nice touch of the scaredy-cat in the foreground.
so there is linked in the coward sneaking into town as a unit breaks up. and here we are with the confluence of alexander gardner and abraham lincoln. gardner is in town working for brady. gardner would take many photographs of what -- of lincoln. the photograph burying witness, bears witness movingpresence, to his to the job. legendarily, lincoln is sort of hiding his right hand because, wasorted -- supposedly, it swollen from shaking thousands of hands. i think that's a myth. i think it is a nice story and i don't mind retelling it. lincoln did shake a lot of hands, but this is a fairly conventional piece. now the other thing that it's addressing is that you notice that he has grown the beard.
lincoln famously grows the beard between the election and the inauguration. it is the biggest alteration by any president. a presidentday if were to dramatically change their look, growing a beard -- een the election what i think it meant for reagan , the way -- for lincoln, the way lincoln is cutting off from the past. what he is doing, he is putting oh others things. half the south is out of the union and there's an element that he is toughening up. i am a big sports fan. i like talking. and the way the hockey players grow a beard during the playoffs. there is a test roster on -- there is a testosterone level here. what lincoln is really doing is this is the first break break -- big break for lincoln.
the rising politician is getting harder. accustomed tome his face. and i you see a new face. he reinventing himself as a wartime president. and this is the great alexander gardner photograph as lincoln begins to deal with this crisis. it is march 1861. lincoln is inaugurated. frontr goes to the east of the cap at all. he takes this great outdoor photograph of the integration. food -- famous's speech. and when he appeals to is the mystic poors of memory that ties .s each the foundation of american democracy in the revolution, the declaration of independence. he is begging this outcome if you will, to remember that shared inheritance and find common ground. of course, it doesn't work.
in fact, just the opposite. lincoln's words fall on deaf ears. the south takes is inauguration as a black republican, a high radical republican mr. pink power. republicanical usurping power. this double whammy, which leads league and him as he would say, that the war came. and the war proceeds. -- i bring in this worker this is the beginning of battlefield journalism with alexander gardner who is same way thatthe photography widens the sphere of who can have a portrait made of ordinary americans, the gardner
does come at the same time that he is specializing in portrait photography for the generals or ordinary americans in the studio in washington, the revolution that begins to occur here, which will have a political impact is that gardner takes his camera antietam. 5000 casualties. 25,000 killed and wounded in one day. and of battlefield is the smoking wreckage because there is no infrastructure to take care of the troops. there's no dog tag team. there is no great registration. and gardner takes a camera and brings back these her five scenes of american casualties. critically ambivalent displaying casualties. what this does is nds
romanticism once and for all. idea that the civil war would be chivalrous sore gentlemen only when out of the window of people started to understand the consequences of industrial death. times" had ayork great inventory oh which it says these photographs have a terrible statements in the mr. gardner, if he has not brought the war into our very houses, our parlors and streets, he has said -- has done something like like it. it has changed all kinds of ways from the way that we mourn, the way we worship him a that we think about language and culture. this directness, this empiricism leads to both through an entire emotional and cultural change. again,ractically,
lincoln goes out to antietam to find out what mcclellan is doing. does not pursue south. lincoln is desperate for a general who will pursue lee. lincoln, i think him i had to wear the stovepipe hat as a passive aggressive gesture, the fact that i'm really tall. height of minimizing the -- and in the great election not douglas, douglas was called the littlejohn for nothing because he was only 541. here, -- 5'1". here, lincoln is towering over little mac. -- andgain, or mcclellan mcclellan thought lincoln was a fool and treated him terribly rudely. lincoln is incredibly patient and he says mildly to mcclellan
in one of these meetings before he fires them, he says, general, if you are not using your army, may i borrow it? [laughter] and mcclellan being of two self-important, he didn't get it here in -- get it. the meeting in which lincoln fires mcclellan. it is where he is strong to find a what mcclellan is doing. picture because it is the beginning again a photojournalism. that camera was big. it was cumbersome. there was the process of taking a plate and developing it. gardner cannot manipulate the camera easily, but he was manipulative himself. inwas taking himself out getting the beginnings of photojournalism, which lincoln is participating in. and what lincoln is doing here, again, lincoln doesn't talk as much as we think he did. his speeches, probably because a quality is really high.
is famous on occasions where there was a surname where he , i appreciated, but i am not going to speak. what if is doing and using photography, and this is the obverse of what whitman was doing. what when -- whitman was constantly posing. tokedin is indexing himself the american people. he is using photography is a measure. as so many americans were fighting and dying, as the call was suffering more and more as mothers and fathers were unworthythe lives and of the constitutional question. lincoln is getting photographed by gardner and the other photographers in washington. it was a way of showing that he was on duty. all the photographs were for sale. you could get to gardner's
studio and see them. lincoln is having his photograph taken because, what you begin to see, and this is where we begin posthumouson to the lincoln, because we know it is coming. you see the wear on terror on lincoln's body. thert critic who reviewed gardner said, by 1863 comedic and see the way the clothes are hanging off him. -- the nice nights suits still, but look at the way -- he is very well groomed in this picture. in 1863, there is something that is haunting. the eyes and a lot quite as dreamy. they are beginning to stare. that famous vietnam phrase, the-mile stare. and what he is staring at his this. an industrialized warfare is continuing. grammy, pine, if you didn't need casualty list--
in the newspaper, these were the the dead.s you'll notice there don't have any shoes on. they were stripped of their shoes. again, lincoln is distressed need will not pursue lee as vigorously as he wants. there is something in this picture where there is again is heartening element, which gardner captures perfectly. gardner was a great photographer ofr the great documentarian the age. this is not dangle that lincoln usually posed in. there is a fierceness to it. eyes.looking right in the
this is an interesting moment in american political culture. again, it is november 8. was invited to gettysburg to give what would become the gettysburg address. famously, lincoln is not the main speaker at the dedication of the cemetery. it is edward everett, the star order of the north. -- the star orator of the north. he had preprinted his remarks. and his remarks were really not remarks. they are two hours long. it is in a credibly long address. this is the thing that historians love, when these facts -- you get this level of serendipity. lincoln goes down to gardner studio. he was reading everett's address. he was chewing the fat with gardner his secretaries and he was reading it.
a politicaloln was genius in the way he mastered campaigning and invented the campaign can. .- campaign pin and also in terms of what was expected and breaking the mold. lincoln did not write the gettysburg address on the trainer to gettysburg. it a lotinking about in the contest of slavery and abolitionism. and i'm convinced he sat there and said to himself, being a sly dog, you are going to give them two hours? i'm getting give them two minutes. no one is going to stop the president for speaking if you us to speak for 45 minutes. and i'm been a take these two minutes and him going to use them, because the other thing that he does -- and we know this wardthe diary entry in the or mcclurkin -- all the gettysburg pictures robyn gardner's studio. while lincoln is sitting there, he is surrounded by the photographs that we just saw.
it is a visual recapitulation of the battlefield in a graphic form. i believe this is when lincoln begins to construct the great preordination of the gettysburg address. he says nothing we do or say here can consecrate this crowd anymore than those that have fought and died here. it is for us, the living, to create the new birth of freedom. this is where he cuts the cord with the past. for thewhen he asked new birth of freedom. this is when he cuts american democracy loose and issues about the union and secession in the slavery and the tired abolitionists. fromthing that had gone 17761861. lincoln says enough. the new birth of freedom will be the new birth of american politics. and he radically reorients the war. so it is no longer a war for union. it is a war for freedom. because of the dialogue he was constructing a his own head, between what he wanted to do and what he saw in
this terrible pictures by alexander gardner. this level of indexing that he is doing, the beard looking a little haphazard here. this great anthony burger profile,h of lincoln, this is the picture, by the way, that is on the penny. again, lincoln and profile. stereoscopes or slightly different two card de visit. it is a strange looking lincoln because his hair has been cut. and we're back to the hooded allies and the slightly downturned mouth. the supposition is that he had a slightly different hair because he had been posing for another one of the life masks where they
would greet your hair back. so that's why he looked strange. and this again is his official , nikolai and hayes, the lincoln secretaries. with, lincoln ran the war two secretaries and a telegraph at the war office. so i commend him with his evolution of the federal government is in the process of being invented. and nikolai and hay are the -- and nikolay and hay are the two closest observers. even the people who knew him very well thought that he was mysterious and strange and unfathomable. they never could figure it out. they always talked about what is the guy up to now? they were chine to get a handle on him. so now we are reaching the end game -- they were always try to
get a handle on him. so now we are reaching the end game. his son was developmentally challenged. he only lived to 18. this is 1865 yard -- this is 1865. lincoln endured the death of his son who dies in the ward. it makes merit a straw. gallery and in the i asked him why he was interested in lincoln. father, he a young was desperately afraid for his children. and he identified with lincoln losing his son. and here is this incredible running thelincoln war the same time that he is running the war area -- at the son has died. his
it's like trying to perform brain surgery wally dog is attacking your leg. -- while a dog is attacking your leg. notice the shadows. notice the hair. this is a burger earlier. the lines on the face becoming greater. hands gnarled. look at the suit, the way it falls off him. and we are up tonight -- staging 65 were a link in israel elected on the balustrade above him lincoln is now below with a paper in his hands, a distant portrait. on the bow can is john welch booth, who is beginning to stalk linconln. the two gentlemen in gray are possibly lewis powell and one of the other lincoln conspirators. theh was stalking link in he was after him. he originally had a plot to kidnap again.
lincolndiscovers that will give us to qualified african-americans, he said, that is it, i will run him through. wasebruary 5, gardner thinking this would be the last sitting. this is a paparazzi photograph. photographer, henry warren, had finagled his way to the white house. he was playing around. the he went to deliver photographs, he said, go get your dad and i will take his picture, too. takessperated lincoln this photograph or he does look kind of peevish. but you will notice again the eyes disappear. public ande to the the suffering, the suffering we in this greatth photograph by gardner, the ruins of the south and ruins of the confederacy.
the north wanted to see them beaten badly. and gardner was serving that appetite. and lincoln is faced with the ,rospect the second inaugural of binding the nation's wounds with charity toward all. and here again, the last sitting , with a very haggard face. and again, when lincoln went into sin, he had several photographs taken of the little carte de visit. at the same time, he had this life mess taken. went people see this in the gallery, they think it is a death mask. related -- the cadaverous element suggests some but he who is dead. there is an anticipation. this is about the same time as this.
this is the famous cracked pavement -- cracked plate. the development process, probably when gardner heated the play to pull the image, you had to heat the chemical mixture before you apply the paper. it cracked. these are incredibly fragile items. there are late to surviving imperial plates. this is a large format. sprint andked at the said, well, that is not any good and threw away the late -- the plate as a reusable. so there is one cracked plate image. it is not a very good condition and we always show it rarely. and i'm happy to have it in the garden show. but this is a single moment. what we are looking at is lincoln at -- in february 1865.
he is thinking about the in duration. he is thinking about the speech. he is thinking very construction , the incredibly torturous process of reconstructing the south and dealing with the social problems of emancipation and freedom. he is looking forward to a second term. he is melancholic because he is very tired. and you can see that in this photograph. there are some dispute about this. people disagree with me about this. but if you notice, the shoulders are out of focus. the last i come as you look at it, doesn't have the usual christmas and clarity of gardner's documentary. result. is -- is grizzled. you can read the crack as booth's bullet and you can read it as the union being bound up in the body of lincoln. what we know is that lincoln is looking forward to the future and we know that he is going to
die. this is the call florence between the actually can we have seen -- this is the confluence between the actual lincoln we have seen in the photographs, prosecuting the war and enduring the simultaneous end to the war and his assassination within a week, turning everything upside down. the death of lincoln changes everything. and what we begin to do, two months and six weeks before lincoln's assassination, we began to look at what will happen. everything that we know happens after the night at ford's theater, and we are projecting backwards. and the transposition of abraham lincoln, a living figure into a mythological figure. it was noted immediately in this highly religious society that lincoln was shot on good friday. but lincoln dies the next morning. the secretary of war says now he belongs to the ages. but alternatively, now he
belongs to the angels. a sense of the apotheosis of abraham lincoln. this incredibly bad, macabre portrait of lincoln, again, the sense of editing of these weird angels taking lincoln to heaven to be greeted by the apotheosis of lincoln combining with the a party uses of george washington, the founder and the preserved the union combining in this transubstantiation of lincoln, which was -- i chose this one because it just is so terrible. [laughter] there were others that were fine art productions with allegorical regalia. what was in everybody's mind was that everything had changed with this portrait. to us,ncoln was present but he is disappearing at the
same time. thishe has in front of him small smile on his face of satisfaction. and i will just conclude by alluding to the two always men poems. two very different takes on abraham lincoln, which is one, in the victorian century, the o captain my captain, your , thisul trip is done victorian melodrama which is their old world. and in the world that lincoln was responsible for and embodied in a new american verse with free verse and this allegorical lifting po the -- em.
the tallying bird, the little fresh that appears in various rights in the action, and marks whitman's morning. we will mourn every spring and we will mourn again. it connect people beyond the grave. with then of tallying flowers in the lilacs growing into the graves with a coffin of the unnamed president, the great star whose gift -- the tallying bird is it -- is the way in which the president keeps track of the past. a combination between his life and his utilization of photography as a way to make what he knew himself to be a mysterious process. he appears to us at the same the tallying bird
thousand his job. isthe tallying bird disastrous at his job. abraham lincoln, the greatest president. thank you. [applause] >> brian is rather overly, a yearly addressed my willingness to take question. i will take them, but i met sure i can answer them. so if you have questions, feel free. great, i stunned you into silence. no? ok. if there are no questions of, there is a question. thank you, sir.
you don't like to have an invitation turned down. noticed no photographs from the brief and perhaps undistinguished military portion of lincoln's career. did he minimize that aspect of his background in his political -- >> no, he used it to his advantage. i'm sorry if i did not portray that correctly. when lincoln was joking, he was always serious. it is that interesting psychological take. -- tick. we lost the capacity for self-deprecation. particularly presidential candidates. [laughter] unlike lincoln, they talk too much. selfhey are too aggrandizing. lincoln is very clever. he rallied to the volunteers. popular, part of his
grassroots campaign to become someone. what he did was, instead of puffing this up, as many heh-century candidates do, minimizes it. --turns it into a slightly he deflects attention. he was a volunteer for a couple of months. henry arson, the it becomes sohat personal, which was unlikely. in the gettysburg address, here is the established rhetoric and i am going to be in public and poke mildfun -- and
fun at my suitor. in our research, we found that lincoln supposedly was the most photographed president of the 19th century. and frederick douglass, the overall most photographed. shortncoln led such a life professionally, how could it be -- they mean, was using the photographers that extensively? and why didn't other presidents? >> again, is the sort of thing that seems obvious to us now. and quitman, they are the other guard. they understand very quickly that the medium -- to lincoln and whitman, they are avant guard.
they understand very quickly that the medium is growing. up pictures of him and mcclellan. there is this element of his ability that lincoln exploits. , again, know how lincoln was incredibly interested in technology. he was interested in the process of war and modernity. there is something about it that made it attractive to him. if you wanted to be malicious, you can say that lincoln was an egotist and light to look at himself. but i don't think that is the case. he wanted to be visible to the public and was using it -- this quickly before the next questions, if you imagine frederick douglass. he is an interesting side case, a parallel case to lincoln. probably justs because he lived longer, but was having his photograph taken because this is the other thing
that photography allowed you to do. you could make people visible parent as it did with lincoln, but more dramatically with the case of the free people, particularly douglas, as he moves into his career as an anti-slavery and abolitionist. there is this element again of bearing witness, that here is an african-american man who is running a newspaper who is leading the abolitionist fight. again, there is this visibility with hisuse that goes work. >> thank you for your speech tonight. i think if nixon had heard this in 1959, he might have been president earlier. [laughter] today, a missed twitter and facebook and photoshop is used to form images for all of us, well, video. my question is, without going at the desk into a whole other
lecture, lincoln's developing use of photography, did that continue on in a strongly after him? >> yeah. you see it in the technology. was a work correspondent. you can blame lincoln and gardner ford if you like your we are -- if you like. we are awash in a sea of images. we are overwhelmed with them. it is nice in 1859 the have a visit.e . now you have the visual that the verbal inmps a way that wipes it out. and of course, without getting into the details of the history the way thaty, photography can be faked and manipulated becomes important.
>> the images that we see are from two or three photographers or maybe those of the good ones. how did lincoln control access to the other photographers who wanted to take his pictures? >> exfo alexander at the end, the guy who ambushes lincoln by going to thad, it is still pretty structured. intervention,arly and it is one of the reasons i they could not afford to put someone outside the white house gate and hoping to capture a bodily to the railway station. abe and maryaid an walking to the railway station. it is very much a client relationship here in which there .as a complicity
lincoln kept these photographs. he paid for them. wasn't an official white house photographer. he paid gardener. andhe deal would be -- gardner would cut him a deal because gardner could then sell the photographs paired in the same with a gardner would take photographs of celebrities or theater people and he would do it as a form of advertisement, because he could sell arcane are one of the other actors. but -- laura keene or one of the other actors. he wrote make in a letter and said can i photograph you? i think it probably happened. there want that many photographers. there's brady's studio. gardner splits off from brady after antietam. there were not that many in washington. there were practically none in the south. so it is still a process of cameranvented, the
itself isn't flexible enough that you can sit outside of the white house. >> i was curious if you believe that the affluence of his wife mary had anything to do with the amount of pictures he had done, because he said he did pay for them personally? >> the what of mary? >> the affluence of his wife. >> no, i don't think so. i would like to know more about the mechanism by which -- there business journals of gardner. it would be nice to see a diary with abe lincoln paid five dollars for 25 pictures. my second question is do you know which image was used when they created mount rushmore or was it a compilation? >> i don't know could i don't
want to say. i think it might be a compilation, but i don't want to guess. i'm try to be fair to the left in the right here. [laughter] >> thank you. i've heard somewhere that there was a childhood injury to one thatf abraham lincoln causes this mystical asymmetry of his face. >> to be honest, i've never heard that. here is the other thing in terms of a body of abraham lincoln. and the mystery. we are always trying to find -- you may well be right. you read it. i just haven't heard it. we always try to find a solution to abraham lincoln. there is a key. men because we are a nation that, since world war ii, we have been assessed with therapy and medical excavations, there are all kinds of medical
election donations for linkedin. that he was melancholic, which today means he was depressive. been on prozac, we could have ended the war faster. i have not heard the eye injury story. >> a quick question about the technology of the day. how long with the subject have to remain still to create a sharp image? >> it is really coming down. a brace for portraits to your photographs. gardner would ask people to be still. we are coming down to five to seven seconds, coming way down. visit pictures, it's becoming faster. enjoy the gardner show
i put on because of the photographs in the way which gardner is really getting to make the camera mobile. if only he had the technology to invent the modern nikon film camera and really be fixable, but as it was, he has to manipulate this rather cumbersome thing. you couldn't handhold the camera. it had to be on a tripod. which, of course, mitigates the ambush shot. wouldquestion would be gardner's battlefield photos, where they staged? >> very good question. you anticipate will gardner did at gettysburg. my gardner show closes in the middle of march. you possibly can get to washington, it's worth looking at these photographs, including the [indiscernible]
but the main drive you hit upon -- the antietam porter pictures were not. he and everybody else was stupefied at the carnage. antietam, if you know it, is a relatively small battlefield. he moves his camera to one or two spots and the shots find themselves. but what you find is what he did at gettysburg, which is this light -- and this is an entirely different lecture so i will make this quick. he manipulates the titles of his shots where he associates them erroneously and fraudulently with major figures who died on , if you, where in fact will come our the ordinary casualties of the ordinary soldier. but then the famous rebel sharpshooters are notorious, where he and his assistance poll an infantry men out of
the line and manipulate him about 70 miles. visual tableaus of the fate of this unfortunate soldier and it is complete fraud. it was discovered later. in the 1960's, i forensic theographer actually found soldier who appears in the rubble sharpshooter picture in a previous photograph in the line of dad being ready to be buried. gardner, that is why your question is so interesting. at the very moment at which photography is claiming absolute truth and in which lincoln is theg it to deal with emotional state and the eight physical state he is in, gardner starts to create an uncertainty about what he creates that we
live with today. is it a real shot? is it staged? there is a famous photograph from the spanish civil war, the moment of a republican soldiers death. he is laid out and able it takes him. shot in the luckiest the world by the cameraman or was it staged? gardner, at the many -- at the inventingthat he is [indiscernible] that was antietam, not gettysburg. >> to what extent it did lincoln's death and mourning, was it publicly memorialized by photographers? >> one of the things that happened is that there were a chairman is number of fakes. there's this competition to get
-- what everybody wanted macabre ly was lincoln in the coffin. none of those exist. and you can't overstate the deepness in which americans mourned, and the cataclysm of having lincoln assassinated at the very moment of union victory. that a whipsawed emotion collectively wiped people out. it gets played out in victorian terms with huge black chattel fox and draping buildings all in lincoln'sthe body of projected into our imagination by the photographs. then lincoln disappears. i think iave -- should have been fair and showed
one of the better apotheosis. use -- what you find is folks trying to come to terms with his death. the you have photography disappearing for a while. you have a certain amount of landscape photography. -- itwas a famous picture will be famous -- where somebody in new york has a very blurry image of what appears to be the funeral cortez where the body was taken on washington. the body then becomes invisible. but it is no longer photographed. it is put in it often. to have lincoln buried in washington. she hates washington. she takes a body back to springfield. and there is this long macabre process in which the body is nvolved and take -- is inalmed and is displayed taken from city to city.
and the body begins to decompose. there is this whole sort of relics of the saints. it adds to the whole kind of saygious -- i'll have to this cherry of the body disappears. but because of that, it becomes even more mythologized. at photography doesn't really pick up. going back to one of the earlier questions, photography then becomes part of the landscape. no president really uses it until later this century. teddy roosevelt, who had a net bully and personality was -- an tddie went -- an ebulen
personality was always having his picture in the paper. >> thank you. >> thank you again. i see brian lurking in the wings. [applause] >> thank you again, david for a very good presentation, a very interesting one. as david has suggested and i did earlier, if you get a chance to get to washington, the gardener exhibit is well with the trip. now i would like to assess your diane -- oh, she found her way up already. to make a presentation to david that it we hope that he will take within. step out so we can get a photograph of this. what sister is giving david at this point is this framed copy of the roy nieman's oil painting of lincoln. of which nowcopy
hangs in the abraham lincoln presidential library museum in springfield, illinois. university of the st. mary have a limited reproduction of this piece in our licking collection. it is quite beautiful and it certainly is unique. thank you again. [applause] the close tonight, i will like to thank the link in the event committee for tonight's gathering in. as you leave the theater, please be sure to stop by the walnut room. there are people who can guide their -- guided to the next floor, to see some special pieces from our linking collection -- the
lincoln collection and to join us for a reception. thank you again and we hope to see you next year. [applause] announcer: visit our website, /history.n.org view can see our upcoming schedule or a recent program. election cycle, we are reminded how important it is for citizens to -- to be informed. c-span is a vehicle for empowering people to make good choices. it really is like you are getting a seven-course gourmet five-star mala policy -- meal of policy. and, boy, do i sound like a nerd or at there.
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